It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our musical highlights. And what a year for new music it’s been – from empowering guitar-driven anthems and gritty electro beats, to dreamy indie-pop, our ears have been pretty lucky!
Earlier this week, we shared our favourite tracks, and next week we’ll be discussing our top gigs, events and Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our most loved albums of 2019. Have a read, and a listen to the playlist below!
Little Simz – Grey Area
Probably my most listened to album of the year, Little Simz’s Grey Area is such a poignant, empowering collection from the London artist. A necessary and stirring listen, with powerful feminist anthems such as ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, as well as more reflective tracks such as ‘Therapy’, it’s just been the perfect soundtrack to 2019’s anxieties and injustices. Grey Area makes me feel like there’s hope, like there’s power in being a woman. Listening to it, I’ve been known to strut down the street, headphones in my ears, fists clenched and feel momentarily inspired and indestructible – “I’m a boss in a fucking dress”.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)
Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL
A vivid exploration of maternal relationships and enduring grief, Le Butcherettes‘ fourth album bi/MENTAL is a potent infusion of almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs, and commanding percussion. Released via Rise Records, bi/MENTAL is an ode to front woman Teri Gender Bender’s mother, and I had the privilege of speaking to her about this, and many other things when I interviewed her earlier this year. ‘give/UP’ is my favourite track on the record, and it gave me goose bumps when I heard it live at Moth Club earlier this year.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)
Suggested Friends – Turtle Taxi
Any follower of Get In Her Ears will be aware of my love of Suggested Friends; and, having been completely addicted to their eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and having being utterly charmed by them at numerous gigs in that time, I was extremely pleased to welcome the birth of Turtle Taxi this year. Filled with the band’s totally dreamy harmonies, the album addresses themes ranging from love and trust, to politics and the end of the world, with each track oozing the band’s infectious jangly scuzz. Faith Taylor’s distinctive crystalline vocals are honestly some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard, and the band’s luscious twinkling melodies and stirring raw emotion never fail to break my heart a little, in the best of ways.
Kim Gordon – No Home Record
With her inimitable vocals and uncompromising style, Kim Gordon‘s first solo album, No Home Record, is a multi-textured offering that snarls, bites and sedates in equal measure. Released via Matador Records, it’s an intriguing, heavy, eclectic gem that fascinates me more each time I listen to it. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from Kim Gordon at Rough Trade too. #FanGirl
Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
As we nauseously hurl towards not just the end of the year but the decade, it’s fitting that Bat for Lashes delivered my record of the year. Lost Girls is nostalgic, brimful of anthemic and anachronistic loneliness of millennial life.
We saw a huge ’80s renaissance in 2019; from films — IT, Wonder Woman — to TV — Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and to me, Lost Girls is the musical response. Whatever it is about the ’80s that takes those of us over 30 back, I don’t know. But it’s ever present. And this record captures that strange sense of longing.
Listening makes me long for a time when technology wasn’t up to par and not all homes had a computer. It makes me yearn to rent video epics like The Lost Boys and Flight of the Navigator and Gremlins. Like I could just drop everything to knock on a friend’s door to see if they want to come outside to play in the hazy sun of an endless summer. Ironically, it makes me think about not thinking. About being free and having hope or no need to search for it. Before anyone fell in love or, if lucky, lost anybody or anything. For 38 minutes, Lost Girls makes me remember what’s gone.
Em Burfitt (Contributor)
ZAMILSKA – Uncovered
A ruthless, beguiling take on the forces that influence and overwhelm us, Polish Producer ZAMILSKA‘s Uncovered is a densely hypnotic record permeated by the artist’s fascination with levitation. The result is thirteen richly textured tracks that seethe with “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. ‘Hollow’ is my favourite track, and I’m hoping I get the chance to hear ZAMILSKA’s music live in 2020.
Trash Kit – Horizon
Trash Kit have been faves of mine for a while now; another band to have brought their joyous energy to us at The Finsbury, their 2014 album Confidence was all kinds of wonderful and this year’s Horizon is no different. Filled with an eclectic array of musical influences, including Rachel Aggs’ love of guitar music from Zimbabwe, each track on the album oozes the band’s trademark shimmering effervescent joy and swirling sparkling energy whilst interweaving twinkling hooks, tribal jangly beats and funk-fused bass lines. With its sunny, euphoric vibes, it offers the perfect remedy to all 2019’s despair.
Aldous Harding – Designer
Aldous Harding’s third album is the Kiwi goth folk artist’s pop LP. Sure, the videos may be unsettling and uncanny, the songs may have titles like ‘The Barrel’, ‘Heaven is Empty’ and ‘Damn’, but check out the folk lilt of ‘Fixture Picture’ and ‘Zoo Eyes’. Having been following her for quite some time, it felt, initially, a little unnerving to see her move away from the more sombre and abrasive territory of 2017’s self-titled debut Party. But watching her at a sold-out Brudenell Social Club, in front of a rapt audience, made me realise the majesty of these songs and their own soft power. On stage, Harding was her typical idiosyncratic self, and that perhaps is the key to her albums. She does what she wants. Who knows what she’ll do next?
John McGovern (Contributor)
Witching Waves – Persistence
One of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in the last couple of years, Witching Waves have been wowing me with the immense frenetic energy of their live shows on more than one occasion. And, on seeing them support Suggested Friends (see other favourite album choice) at The Shacklewell Arms a couple of months back, I decided to pick up the shiny yellow vinyl of Persistence. Propelled by propulsive racing beats, their energy-fuelled post-punk oozes a visceral power, with tracks such as ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Best Of Me’ showcasing perfectly in-sync musical layers, as Estella’s driving bass and Mark’s metallic melodies accompany Emma’s frenzied rhythms and raw impassioned vocals. I can’t wait to hear what the trio have in store for us in 2020.
Black Belt Eagle Scout – At The Party With My Brown Friends
This year, Katherine Paul debuted an overwhelmingly captivating and forward-facing second record under her project name Black Belt Eagle Scout. With lush indie-rock/alternative tones met with echoing vocals and non traditional percussion, Katherine speaks from her crucial voice as a radical indigenous queer feminist. At The Party With My Brown Friends is a profound look into friendship, desire and longing through a lense that has lived through hardship on a cultural scale. Aligned with the pain of the people Katherine represents, Black Belt Eagle Scout exposes a necessary reality. A sonic melancholic marriage between the celebration of life’s lightest moments and an ongoing heavy and fighting heart. In a political climate where indigenous voices continue to fight to be heard, At The Party With My Brown Friends hosts an imperative statement. Make room for the mighty and influential voice of Katherine Paul.
Jillian Goyeau (Contributor)
FKA Twigs – Magdalene
FKA Twigs seems to re-emerge whenever my heart’s taken a bit of a beating, and I’m so relieved when she does. Magdalene is inspired by heartache and the figure of Mary Magdalene, an unlikely heroine who Twigs uses to explore the strengths and weaknesses of her femininity. Both the master and the muse: she is re-inventing what it means to be a performer, an artist, and a woman in the music industry. Her accompanying Magdalene Tour was a beautiful spectacle, and I can’t imagine a time when we won’t be enthralled by her.
We’ve updated our Tracks Of 2019 playlist with some songs from our favourite albums of the year. Have a listen now!